The only way to find parts for a scratch build Indian project here in the Highlands of Scotland is to trawl eBay, Vintage Cycle Bay, internet forums and phone, email and visit as many Indian enthusiasts as possible to try and source the parts that you need.. There is an element of Cosmic Supply about the whole process if you visualise what you want, it more than often turns up, sometimes in the strangest of ways!
I was on holiday in Tuscany with my family when I saw a complete..ish 1933 Chief engine for sale on eBay, being sold by Bob Clift in Nevada. I kept and eye on it and kept checking back to look at it.. It was in my view perfect for the project, first year of the recirculating oil pump type Chiefs, but still with that early vintage look about it and at a price I could just about afford! The bidding was ending just when we got home so I stayed up to some ungodly hour in the morning to make sure I got it, which I did. A few weeks lated a nicely crated engine arrived in Scotland and it wasn't long before it was unpacked and set up to see what I had bought..
The search began to find a suitable frame, I had decided that a 101 Scout was my ideal choice. The 101 Scout has the reputation for being the finest handling of all the Indians and were built between 1928 and 1931. I bought a frame via ebay from a fella in Pensilvania and waited for the shipping, import and customs to do their worst, the frame arrived in Scotland in late autumn, it wasn't great, the rear tubes were a mess and it had suffered with some heavy rust pitting elsewhere, but I did have a 101 frame to get me started.
A bit more eBay trawling secured a suitable early 30's helical gear transmission and I was ready for the first trial fit of the engine in the frame. (apologies for the fuzzy pic)
As you can see the Chief power plant doesn't quite fit in the space provided! A lot of discussion with Grizzy on the phone later I was starting to understand the various modifications that have been used to get the motor to fit. Grizzy kindly did this sketch for me to illustrate how it can be done...
And how he did DiXiE
I managed to find a better 101 frame that I bought from Tony Carabine down in Yorkshire, and over the winter of 2010/11 I picked up a later 1940 Chief motor and the later chain driven transmission. The 1933 motor being the first year of the redesigned Chief needed a lot of rare "one year only" parts to get it to work, I was struggling to find the intermediate gear for the primary and finally frustration made me decide to use the later 1940 power plant. The 1933 power plant was traded on for a little flat track Scout and I got back on with the Chout build. Spring of 2011 I took delivery of a 101 front fork via Moen at IPE, A pair of Honda K2 wheel hubs laced to Akron rims had the chassis rolling in no time!
At this time I was running our shop at Achnasheen in the NW Highlands, a jewellery gallery and cafe with my wife,son and daughter. I had a little workshop set up in what had been a stock room, with a lathe pillar drill and a bench for working on engines. There was no room to work on a bike but I have always preferred working out doors so I made up a jig to keep the frame straight while I modified it to accept the power plant. This sat on a low shelf by the shop door when we were busy, when it was quiet I would take it outside and work on the project. Early spring was always a quiet time so progress was good, within a few weeks I had the engine sitting in the frame.
The set of chromed Junior Scout tanks I had bought from Christian Timmerman for my Stroker were comandeered for the Chout and various mock ups were done to get everything sitting the way I wanted. Before too long I had the frame back on its wheels and could start to pice the rest of the chassis together.
By the end of Summer 2011 I had the Chout pretty much dry built. The motor was complete bar the clutch and primary. The kicker post needed modified to get the kicker to work properly, I needed exhaust pipes made up, some linkages and a few brackets welded onto the chassis . I mocked up the piped using pipe insulation to get the pipe shape the way I wanted and got the bike bolted ad zip tied together as complete as I could ready for the next stage of the build.
Richi was really busy at the time. We had agreed that he would fit in the work in between bigger jobs and did it as and when he had the time or just felt like it. It was two years before I collected the Chout from him. In the meantime I had changed jobs and we had taken on a house renovation project. Due to family and work commitments the Chout had been put to the back of my mind and it was only the intermittent photo updates and the odd visit to Richi's workshop that kept the project going. When I did collect it, it was looking so much better. Richi had re done my crossbar conversion with a new curved one that incorporated a head steady. The pipes were perfect in stainless steel, a set of bars had been made using a 101 centre and 741 bar ends, brake anchors front and rear, footboard mounts and a host of other little jobs had been completed.
As I was still busy at my new job and free time was taken up with looking after family and our horses ,the Chout was put into storage at the farm along with the Stroker Scout and my other bikes.
It was 2017 before I did any more work on the project. I was not happy with the stance of the bike, the bars felt too low and the front end didn't feel right. I changed the bars to a set of repo 31 Scout bars that swooped back and up a bit more, the wheel was mocked up with various sizes until I settled on the classic 18" rear 21" front set up. I bought a Honda XL500 front wheel complete with a single sided TLS brake and with a little modification it fits into the 101 fork.
And that brings us up to date, I have just ordered all of the parts to build the primary up, a proper Indian 101 front brake brace setup and all the little bits and pieces I need to get the Chout running. I hope to get it on the road this spring.
To be continued.........